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Canadian director Shawn Levy has discovered the secret to making the best family movies: don't focus on the kids, but on the parents. Take 'Night at the Museum'. It was kind of a goofy comedy, but at its heart, it was about a father trying to hold on to his son. 'Cheaper By The Dozen', meanwhile, was about a couple just trying to do right by their 12 kids.
And while you might not find a Shawn Levy film at the top of many of those year-end best-of lists, that family theme has made his movies more than a billion dollars at the box office. It's an amazing achievement, which springs from a humble place: Shawn's own childhood. Growing up in Montreal, with divorced parents, he credits his family connections for defining him - teaching him to be smart, to work hard, and to hustle. And Shawn has put in the work: He's collaborated with some of the most talented - and demanding - names in comedy: Steve Martin, Ben Stiller, and Ricky Gervais.
Now Shawn has teamed up with Hugh Jackman on a new film called 'Real Steel'.
It's another family story, but a little darker than the others. In a future where robot boxing is the number-one sport, Jackman plays a ne'er-do-well dad who suddenly has to look after his long-forgotten son. On the surface, it's an action flick. But strip away the metal plating and the wiring, it's a film about relationships and redemption that doesn't pull any punches.